Basic Filework

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
As the title suggests, this is a small tutorial on filework. First off, allow me to say : I am no expert on filework (or any other aspect of knifemaking). I simply enjoy doing it and want to share some info to anyone that is interested. If you have questions - ask. I'll try to answer them as well as I can.
So, off to the races, then.
First. the tools. I use files , because they come in mighty handy doing filework, The files I would start with are a chainsaw file (Preferably new). A triangle file (also preferably new) and a good mill bastard file (for squaring off the spine).
Some metal marking fluid -Dykem is good and so is a sharpie. If you are gonna use dykem, a carbide marking pencil is good to have. Calipers or dividers.
Probably some things I forgot but will remember as we progress.
Real good directional lighting. Magnifier glasses. vise.
Don't forget - this is the way I do it. Not the right way or the wrong way - just my way. you'll end up tweaking your way as you progress.DSC01400.JPGDSC01401.JPGDSC01402.JPGDSC01404.JPGThis is a knife that I'm currently working on, so we'll use this as the model and go step by stepDSC01406.JPGMore tomorrow
 

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Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
for this project, I'm using flat bar mystery steel from Lowes. easy to file and makes for good practice/design material. So the first step for me it to flatten the spine edge of our "knife" , then dykem it and start our marking. These are only reference points so actual measurements are not important - only that the marks distances look good to your eye. the first line that I mark is the longitudinal halfway line down the spine.DSC01408.JPG
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Next, using the small triangular file, I make small notches on the alternate sides of the spine. These are guide notches, so they don't have to be real deep. Just a side note, files cut only on the push (forward) stroke. If you drag them backwards, they will dull much sooner.DSC01411.JPG
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
next, I use the chainsaw file ti start the rounded cuts. The file is held at a 90* angle to the centerline you drew and about a 45* angle relative to the side of the blade. I count the strokes so that the cuts are somewhat even (this one was 10 strokes od equal pressure and angls).DSC01412.JPG
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
I'm Back.....hardly knew I was gone, huh? Any way, what I do next is to make the shapes bigger and more defined. For this I use a jewelers half round file - the cut is finer on this file.DSC01422.JPGDSC01413.JPG
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
at the same time that I'm enlarging from side to side, I'm increasing the angle (relative to the blade side) in order to move the oval shapr closer to the centerline.DSC01415.JPG
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Now that the ovals are the size and shape that I want them to be, I cut the notches forward of them, I use the jewelers saw to cut the initial slot (this serves as a starter point for the file). Then I (carefully) staret on the elongated triangle.DSC01416.JPG
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
Next, I finish the shape and the size to my liking using the triangle file. for this cut, I hold the file at about a 45* angle (relative to the centerline) and about a 20* angle (relative to the flat of the spine)DSC01417.JPG
 

Johan Nel

Well-Known Member
next, I use the chainsaw file ti start the rounded cuts. The file is held at a 90* angle to the centerline you drew and about a 45* angle relative to the side of the blade. I count the strokes so that the cuts are somewhat even (this one was 10 strokes od equal pressure and angls).View attachment 70541
I seem so see lines drawn on the sides of the blade as well. Does it have any significance?
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
after you are satisfied with your smoothing cuts, I use fine and finer sandpaper with a hard backing ro sand the spine to what ever finish you desire.DSC01421.JPGHope this makes some semblance of order and technique. feel free to comment and ask any questions that may cross your mind.
 

Bruce McLeish

Well-Known Member
I'd like to thank you for being the only one on this forum to offer any useable help. Thank you for your help Bruce!!
You are very welcome. You would think that with as many members as are here , there would certainly be more and better help than me.
 
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